Henry Loescher

Henry Loescher CV

INSTAAR Affiliate

  • Director of Strategic Projects, CEO Office, NEON


  • PhD: University of Florida, 2002

Contact Information


Determining the biotic and abiotic controls on ecosystem-level carbon and energy balance across spatial and temporal scales.


Research Statement

I use experimental, laboratory, and observational approaches to investigate processes and mechanisms that transport mass and energy from ecosystems to the atmosphere across local, regional, and global scales.  In particular, my research focuses on understanding

  1. The patterns of carbon and energy dynamics in ecosystems,
  2. The interaction between biotic and abiotic and controls changes on these dynamics,
  3. The feedbacks among the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum,
  4. How these patterns, processes and feedbacks scale in time and space, and
  5. Rigorously examining the theoretical basis and reducing the uncertainty in current approaches to estimate these quantities.

My approaches rigorously confront theory with applied science and engineering.

Developing a predictive capacity for ecological processes governs my approaches toward science, i.e., an ecological forecasting.  This a robust iterative approach that begins with confronting theory, which in turn informs the types of observations that have to be made, which in turn informs new understandings and modeling approaches.  However, many ecological processes are non linear and stochastic (e.g., tipping points, effects of drought and changes in precipitation, etc.).  Hence, the need for experiments/process studies to elucidate these unknown processes and non-linear responses.  Integrating theory, observations, models and experiments is not a static process; quite the contrary, to enhance our predictive ability much be done dynamically and iteratively over time (Fig 1).

Figure 1. Forecast skill is the NOAA ability to predict synoptic weather (500 mb) across the U.S. over time. Inset depicts a conceptual iterative approach to integrate theory, observation, and models to enhance forecast skill. This philosophy is a new paradigm for ecological forecasting.

This philosophy calls for

  1. Estimates of system state information on process parameters,
  2. Observations collected systematically over time and space to challenge iterative forecasts (models),
  3. Addressing ‘what is the most likely future state of an ecological system?’, and
  4. Providing an applied context of ‘what-if’ given a decision made today. 

I think implementing this philosophy is a new paradigm for ecological research.

I use a diverse set of tools including micrometeorological techniques, stable isotope analysis, time series analyses, modeling and geostatistics, to extrapolate from fine-to-coarse spatial scales and to connect ecological processes to patterns.  My research contributes directly in addressing The National Plan for Earth Observations, Group on Earth Observations, National Research Council’s Grand Environmental Challenges, the National Ecological Observatory Network’s Grand Challenge questions, Societal Benefit Areas, and will continue to play a role in the National Policy.



Roberti, J. A., Ayres, E., Henry LoescherTang, J., Starr, G., Durden, D. J., Smith, D. E., de la Reguera, E., Morkeski, K., McKlveen, M., Benstead, H., Mike SanClements, Lee, R. H., Gebremedhin, M., Zulueta, R. C. 2018: A robust calibration method for continental-scale soil water content measurements. Vadose Zone Journal, 17(1): article UNSP 170177. DOI: 10.2136/vzj2017.10.0177

Villarreal, S., Guevara, M., Alcaraz-Segura, D., Brunsell, N. A., Hayes, D., Henry Loescher, Vargas, R. 2018: Ecosystem functional diversity and the representativeness of environmental networks across the conterminous United States. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 262: 423-433. DOI: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2018.07.016

Chabbi, A., Lehmann, J., Ciais, P., Henry Loescher, Cotrufo, M. F., Don, A., Mike SanClements, Schipper, L., Six, J., Smith, P., Rumpel, C. 2017: Aligning agriculture and climate policy. Nature Climate Change, 7(5): 307-309. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate3286

Gheysari, M., Sadeghi, S.-H., Henry Loescher, Amiri, S., Zareian, M. J., Majidi, M. M., Asgarinia, P., Payero, J. O. 2017: Comparison of deficit irrigation management strategies on root, plant growth and biomass productivity of silage maize. Agricultural Water Management, 182: 126-138. DOI: 10.1016/j.agwat.2016.12.014

Vargas, R., Alcaraz-Segura, D., Birdsey, R., Brunsell, N. A., Cruz, C. O., de Jong, B., Etchevers, J., Guevara, M., Hayes, D. J., Johnson, K., Henry Loescher, Paz, F., Ryu, Y., Sanchez, Z., Toledo-Gutierrez, K. P. 2017: Enhancing interoperability to facilitate implementation of REDD+: Case study of Mexico. Carbon Management, 8(1): 57-65. DOI: 10.1080/17583004.2017.1285177

Sierra, C. A., Malghani, S., Henry Loescher 2017: Interactions among temperature, moisture, and oxygen concentrations in controlling decomposition rates in a boreal forest soil. Biogeosciences, 14(3): 703-710. DOI: 10.5194/bg-14-703-2017

Kunwor, S., Starr, G., Henry Loescher, Staudhammer, C. L. 2017: Preserving the variance in imputed eddy-covariance measurements: Alternative methods for defensible gap filling. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 232: 635-649. DOI: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2016.10.018

Csavina, J., Roberti, J. A., Taylor, J. R., Henry Loescher 2017: Traceable measurements and calibration: A primer on uncertainty analysis. Ecosphere, 8(2): article e01683. DOI: 10.1002/ecs2.1683

Cavaleri, M. A., Coble, A. P., Ryan, M. G., Bauerle, W. L., Henry Loescher, Oberbauer, S. F. 2017: Tropical rainforest carbon sink declines during EI NiƱo as a result of reduced photosynthesis and increased respiration rates. New Phytologist, 216(1): 136-149. DOI: 10.1111/nph.14724

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